This past weekend was spent in Munising, Michigan, diving the shipwrecks of the Alger Under Water preserve. For those of you that do not know where Munising, Michigan is, click HERE. There are tons of activities to keep you and your family occupied during all four seasons. We dove with the same exact group that dove last summer, plus the addition of 1, and it was AWESOME!!!
Diving in Lake Superior is a unique experience, and not for the faint of heart. Water temperatures on the surface were about 55F and at depth, about 40F. But the lack of zebra mussels (the water is too clean and too cold for them to survive), and generally great visibility make diving this inland fresh-water sea something that every diver needs to experience (hopefully with a dry suit and plenty of argon).
This year was a repeat of some diving we did last year, also in Munising. In fact, even the people were the same! We dove with Captain Pete of Shipwreck Tours and he is a fantastic charter boat captain! He is very knowledgeable about each of the wrecks and tells their story not only with enthusiasm but also a touch of humor. His assistant Dorothy rocks. Both of them are full of Yooper hospitality. This is also the same charter operation that runs the glass bottom boat tours. Make sure you stop in sometime and get on one of their boats. It is definitely worth the time and the money.
On the docket this year for diving: the Smith Moore, the Steven M. Selvick and the Bermuda.
The Smith Moore is a wooden schooner that sunk in 1889 as a result of a collision. The deck is at roughly 75 feet and the bottom is about 90 feet deep. This year, we did two dives on the wreck - one each day - and it rocked! It is nearly fully intact, although a significant portion of it is buried in sand. We were able to descend into the cargo hold and swim almost entirely from the stern to the bow inside the ship. It was pretty sweet! The second day we dove on it - July 13 - was not only the 125th anniversary of it's sinking, it was also my 100th dive! I honestly can't imagine a better place to have had my 100th dive. Typically, divers do their 100th dive nekked (or in a bikini/speedo), but there was no way I was going to jump into that water in a bikini. Everyone we dove with tried to get me to do it, but I prefer to not suffer the effects of hypothermia.
Steven M. Selvick
We dove the Selvick after the Smith Moore on the first day. It's a tug that was intentionally sunk in 1996 for recreational diving. It sits on a rock bottom at about 60 feet and is tossed somewhat by the waves over the course of the year. It's a nice, easy dive, and even offers some penetration into the wheel house.
The Bermuda is a wooden schooner that sunk in 1870. It's on the smaller side, but sits completely upright and is fully intact. An added bonus is that it's only in 15 - 30 feet of water! The hull is mostly empty meaning there are some great penetration opportunities. This is a nice, relaxed dive and the water is a little warmer making it very enjoyable. Last year, Aaron had to call off the dive after about only 20 minutes because he had to go to the bathroom. This year, I MADE him take care of business BEFORE we got in the water. There was no way I was going to let him thumb a dive two years in a row due to his bladder!
Since we do not own a housing for our camera yet, please see Rich Synowiec's Facebook album for pictures of us on the wrecks.
As always, the trip involved a lot of socializing around a camp fire. Some of the best times I've had on a dive trip are sitting around a fire with other like-minded people. The diving is always awesome, but the people make a weekend like this one for the record books. For more pictures from the weekend, click through the gallery below.
Aaron and I both went to Michigan Tech and have spent a fair amount of time here. This week, we are exploring a lot of places that we never had the chance to explore while we were living here (funny how that happens). These places include the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Grand Marais, some stuff in Houghton and Marquette that we somehow never saw, and the Porcupine Mountains. Stay tuned for some more posts from God's Country, aka the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
- Meghan -